Seven hardware and home improvement retailers were recently added to the New York State Historic Business Preservation Register. Read on to learn details of their historic significance.
Beckerle Lumber Supply Co., Spring Valley, N.Y.—In 1940, Laurence Beckerle Sr. founded Beckerle Lumber in the village of Spring Valley. Beckerle had worked in the lumber industry throughout his youth and drew on his years of experience to open his own business, which was instrumental in providing lumber and supplies for large projects around the county. Following the senior Beckerle’s death in 1966, his son, Laurence “Pete” Beckerle, took over the management of the company, which he led for decades, presiding over the expansion into its current four locations across Rockland County. Currently, his sons, Larry III, president; Stephen, branch manager; Michael, chief financial officer; and Matthew, formerly an installed sales manager, are the third generation of Beckerles to proudly carry on the legacy and continue the operations of the company.
Cornell’s Hardware, Eastchester, N.Y.—Cornell’s Hardware, incorporated in 1909 by brothers Charlie and Bailey Cornell, had its roots as a general store dating back to the early 1800s. Located in Eastchester, the business was eventually bought from the Cornell family by longtime employee John Fix, who had started working at the store as an after-school job in 1916. Cornell’s is currently operated by John Fix III, the third generation of the Fix family, and has been part of the True Value hardware cooperative since the 1960s.
Curtis Lumber Company, Ballston Spa, N.Y.—The Isaac Curtiss family operated a sawmill in Saratoga County in the early nineteenth century. In 1890, Elmer A. Curtis purchased the business, dropped the second s in Curtiss and established the Curtis Lumber Company. The business passed through the family until 1955, when Robert Curtis opened a retail operation in front of the sawmill. The sawmill closed in 1982 after a fire, but the retail operations continued with the company expanding to include 23 locations in New York and Vermont. Jay Curtis has been the president and owner since 1992.
Davies Hardware, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.—When William Davies founded a business in Poughkeepsie 1888, it was a butcher shop and general store. Over the years it evolved into a general supply and feed store and, after World War II, became a residential and commercial hardware store. Jennifer Davies-Sadowski is the fifth generation of the family to operate the business, which maintains a customer-first approach.
TRIO Hardware and Paint, Plainview, N.Y.—TRIO Hardware and Paint has been a family-owned Plainview institution since it was first opened in 1963 by founder Bernard Carlow. Run for decades by the Carlow family, the hardware store—now owned by Todd and Ritsa Kirschner—has relied on its strong connection to the local community to survive competition from big-box retailers. The store operates with the motto “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”
Ward Lumber, Jay, N.Y.—In 1890, Harvey Ward entered the forest products industry in the AuSable Valley of the Adirondack Mountains, working with portable mills to custom saw logs into lumber for building. His sons later ran the business as “Ward Brothers.” Sidney Ward Sr., who took ownership of the company in 1944, started buying logs and established a retail operation selling lumber to the surrounding area. His wife, Agnes, was a fixture at Ward Lumber for over 70 years, working to continue the business that her husband had developed. With the fourth generation of the Ward family still active, the company became employee owned in 2021.
Williamson Hardware, Williamson, N.Y.—Williamson Hardware Inc. has been proudly owned and managed by the Hartsen family for 82 years. It was established by Arnold Harsten in 1940 and is now run by his son, Jim Hartsen. This multi-faceted business occupies a historic brick building block at the four corners of the small hamlet of Williamson.